IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 4, 2019
Ms. Klobuchar (for herself and Mr. Sullivan) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
To promote international exchanges on best election practices, cultivate more secure democratic institutions around the world, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Global Electoral Exchange Act of 2019.
Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that—
recent elections globally have illustrated the urgent need for the promotion and exchange of international best election practices, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, results transmission, transparency of electoral data, election dispute resolution, and the elimination of discriminatory registration practices and other electoral irregularities;
the advancement of democracy worldwide promotes United States interests, as stable democracies provide new market opportunities, improve global health outcomes, and promote economic freedom and regional security;
credible elections are the cornerstone of a healthy democracy and enable all persons to exercise their basic human right to have a say in how they are governed;
inclusive elections strengthen the credibility and stability of democracies more broadly;
at the heart of a strong election cycle is the professionalism of the election management body and an empowered civil society;
the development of local expertise via peer-to-peer learning and exchanges promotes the independence of such bodies from internal and external influence; and
supporting the efforts of peoples in democratizing societies to build more representative governments in their respective countries is in the national interest of the United States.
Global electoral exchange
Global electoral exchange
The Secretary of State is authorized to establish and administer a Global Electoral Exchange Program to promote the utilization of sound election administration practices around the world.
The purpose of the Global Electoral Exchange Program described in subsection (a) shall include the promotion and exchange of international best election practices, including in the areas of—
the protection of election systems against influence campaigns;
transparency of electoral data;
election dispute resolution;
the elimination of discriminatory registration practices and electoral irregularities;
inclusive and equitable promotion of candidate participation;
equitable access to polling places, voter education information, and voting mechanisms (including by persons with disabilities); and
other sound election administration practices.
Exchange of electoral authorities
The Secretary of State may, in consultation, as appropriate, with the United States Agency for International Development, make grants to any United States-based organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code with experience in and a primary focus on foreign comparative election systems or subject matter expertise in the administration or integrity of such systems that submits an application in such form, and satisfying such requirements, as the Secretary may require.
Types of grants
An organization described in paragraph (1) may receive a grant for one or more of the following purposes:
To design and implement programs bringing election administrators and officials, including government officials, poll workers, civil society representatives, members of the judiciary, and others who participate in the organization and administration of public elections in a foreign country that faces challenges to its electoral process to the United States to study election procedures in the United States for educational purposes.
To design and implement programs taking the United States or another country’s election administrators and officials, including government officials, poll workers, civil society representatives, members of the judiciary, and others who participate in the organization and administration of public elections to study and discuss election procedures for educational purposes.
Limits on activities
Activities administered under the Global Electoral Exchange Program may not—
include observation of an election for the purposes of assessing the validity or legitimacy of that election;
facilitate any advocacy for a certain electoral result by a grantee when participating in the Program; or
be carried out without proper consultation with State and local authorities in the United States that administer elections.
Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State should establish and maintain a network of Global Electoral Exchange Program alumni, to promote communication and further exchange of information regarding sound election administration practices among current and former program participants.
A recipient of a grant under the Global Electoral Exchange Program may use such grant for only the purpose for which such grant was awarded, unless otherwise authorized by the Secretary of State.
Grants made under this subsection may not be duplicative of any other grants made under any other provision of law for similar or related purposes.
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act and in each of the following two years thereafter, the Secretary of State shall provide to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives a briefing on the status of any activities carried out pursuant to this Act during the preceding year, which shall include, among other information, the following:
A summary of all exchanges conducted under the Global Electoral Exchange Program, including information regarding grantees, participants, and the locations where program activities were held.
A description of the criteria used to select grantees under the Global Electoral Exchange Program.
Any recommendations for the improvement of the Global Electoral Exchange Program, based on the purpose specified in section 3(b).
No additional funds authorized
No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the requirements of this Act. The requirements shall be carried out using amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated.